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For the MH-53 PAVE LOW Community

USAF H-53 Tail Number History

Tail NumberOrig. ModelFinal ModelStatusFinal DateCrew StatusLast UnitOperations1966-19791980-19891990-19992000-2008
66-14428HH-53BMH-53JRetired / AMARCApr or May 07?
AMARC (4 Jan 07)
N/A551st SOSN/A15 Mar 1967: First flight at Sikorsky (Stratford, CT - Wright / Guinn)N/AN/ADec 2006: First PAVE LOW flown to the boneyard for retirement
66-14429HH-53BMH-53JRetired / AMARC21-May-07N/A551st SOSN/AN/AN/A1996: Tail rotor impacted ground in field near Vance AFB while conducting incentive flights for UPT student. Rebuilt at Sikorsky facility Troy, AL and returned to serviceN/A
66-14431HH-53BMH-53JLogistics Loss10-Jun-98No fatalitiesNADEP, Cherry Point, NCDESERT STORMN/AJan 1989: Cargo ship Yarrawonga rescue off coast of Ireland (35 Saves). One of two from RAF Woodbridge, England. 10 hours, two A/Rs, 1150 miles start to finish during 70 knot hurricane winds and 30-40 ft swells.Operation DESERT STORM:
Jan 1991: Corvette 01 rescue attempt in Northern Iraq (21st SOS)
17 Jul 2003: Delivered to AMARC
Destroyed by USMC pilot on acceptance check flight after depot maintenance at Cherry Point. Took off with no oil in IGB, which subsequently seized up while in a hover
66-14432HH-53BMH-53JRetired / AMARC21-May-07N/A551st SOSVietnam WarMay - Jun 1974: Used in the movie Airport 1975 (Stationed at the 1550 ATTW Hill AFB Utah)
Jul 1971: First H-53 transported in a C-5 (One of two helos loaded for Udorn AB)
15 - 24 Aug 1970: First Transpacific Helicopter Flight. ARRS personnel proved the possibility of ferrying two factory-issued HH-53s from Eglin AFB, FL to Da Nang B, Vietnam, with the aid of ARRS HC-130 refueling. Intermediate stops were Minot AFB, ND; Fort Nelson, BC; Elmendorf AFB, AK; Shemya AFB, AK; Misawa AB, Japan; Kadena AB, Okinawa; and Clark AB, Repbulic of the Philipines. The mission commander was Major James L. Butera (ARRS 1946-1981: An Illustrated Chronology; Donald D. Little).
N/AN/AN/A
66-14433*HH-53BMH-53JDisplay / Kirtland AFB01-Jun-07N/A551st SOSVietnam War18 Sep 1975: First prototype HH-53H (Wright Patterson Mod Center)
Oct 1967: Third H-53 to Udorn AB
N/AN/AFirst H-53 in the world with over 10,000 flying hours
67-14993HH-53CMH-53MCombat Loss19-Mar-03No fatalities20th SOSIRAQI FREEDOM / ENDURING FREEDOMN/AN/AN/AOperation IRAQI FREEDOM:
- Hard landing during Infil
- Aircraft later destroyed by friendly forces to prevent capture
Operation ENDURING FREEDOM:
- 02 Nov 01: Rescue of KNIFE 03 (acft 5791) that crashed in Northern Afghanistan (2001 MacKay Trophy)
- Brought in Afghanistan President Hamid Karsai from the field so he could take control of country
67-14994HH-53CMH-53MReitred / Nellis Bomb Range08-Feb-1220th SOSENDURING FREEDOMN/A17 Jan 1987: First MH-53J Roll out1998: First of two prototype IDAS/MATT modified MH-53J's (pre-cursor to MH-53M)
1994 - 1995: Used for Heavy Weight testing incorporating new ERH rotohead
- Crashed on pad snapping MLG off
Stripped of parts to repair acft 67-4995. Used for target practice on Nellis Range.
Jan 2002: Hit antennae during shipboard ops in Adriatic. Knocked out reception for SuperBowl
67-14995HH-53CMH-53MRetired / AMARC27-Sep-0820th SOSIRAQI FREEDOM / ALLIED FORCEN/AN/AOperation ALLIED FORCE:
- 27 Mar 99: Flight lead during VEGA 31 rescue
- 2 May 99: Flight lead during HAMMER 34 rescue
4 April 1996: Collected a British Joint Helicopter Support Unit team from Divulje Barracks, Split and delivered them to Dubrovnik Airport. The Team members, tactical landing site and sling load experts, were requested by 10th SFG to assist in the recovery operation following the CT-43 crash in which Commerce Secretary Ron Brown and his party lost their lives. JHSU Team Cpl Mark Service, L/Cpl Edd Duck, SAC Al Morton and L/Cpl Rick Shaw.
Operation IRAQI FREEDOM:
- Nov 2007: Sustained an upper deck fire from heater while parked. Repaired using parts from 67-4994.
Operation ENDURING FREEDOM:
- Flight lead for first PAVE LOW direct action mission
68-10356HH-53CMH-53JRetired / AMARC05-Oct-0720th SOSDESERT STORMN/AN/AOperation DESERT STORM:
- 1st mission of the war
- 1st coalition acft on Kuwait City Intl Airport
- 1st coalition acft at U.S. embassy in Kuwait City
AMARC Flight: A/C - Lt Col S. Henrie; C/P - Capt R. Mittelstet; FE - TSgt V. DePersio
68-10357HH-53CMH-53MDisplay / Wright-Patt Museum14-Apr-0820th SOSIRAQI FREEDOM / IVORY COAST / Vietnam WarOperation IVORY COAST:
- Nov 70: Son Tay raid (Apple 1) Lead aircraft
Note from (Ret) Col Jay Strayer: It has survived 40 years of hard flying in all sorts of environments and many of us have flown it. I have several combat sorties in the bird during one of which I followed it and its crew into North Vietnam Nov 21, 1970 in our attempt to free the POWs interned in the Son Tay Prison Camp. Over the years I am aware of at least two Air Force Crosses awarded its crew members and a pot full of Silver Stars. At least one pilot and a couple of PJs made a low altitude bailout from it because of hydraulic-induced oscillations (the pilot and flight engineer stuck it out and made it safely to the ground). Who knows how many other times it was close to becoming another loss statistic. It is the only surviving H-53 of the five flying the Son Tay mission. 357 flew its last mission in Iraq last week, not one of sedentary orbit, but an actual engagement with the bad guys. While many of us flew it as an HH-53C, it will be displayed in its PAVE LOW configuration. My reintroduction to this old friend was a very meaningful event and I have to think some of you will have some fond memories of how 357 took care of you as well. I am interested in any personal experiences you might wish to share regarding this particular helicopter. Surely many of you will be motivated to visit the museum for your own reunion with this outstanding part of our nation's history.
Note from Chuck Rouhier: I was the FE on 357's last flight is SEA on Dec. 9, 1972 (a fitting date, don't you think) for .9 hours. A flight from NKP to Udorn where she was torn down for shipment to her next duty assignment.
N/AN/A11 Sep 2001: Assisted in FEMA efforts following terrorist attacks
68-10358HH-53CMH-53MRetired / AMARC05-Oct-0720th SOSN/AN/AAMARC Flight: A/C - T. Aldrich; C/P - K. Green; FE - B. Smith (All ARINC crewmembers)
68-10360HH-53CMH-53MRetired / AMARC07-Jan-1220th SOSN/AN/AFlatbed from Crestview to AMARC
68-10363HH-53CMH-53JRetired / AMARC18-May-07551st SOSVietnam War101 Saves during Vietnam War / Six Silver Star award recipients for missions flown
Accredited with 700th save of 37th ARRS
18 Aug 1972: Damaged during rocket attack in DaNang
Apr 1972: Flew Bat 21 SAR mission, one crew member wounded during rescue attempt
N/AN/A10 Jan 2002: Crashed during SAR mission in Durango, CO (No fatalities)
- Loss of tail rotor authority. Rebuilt and returned to service
68-10364HH-53CMH-53JOperations Loss02-Jun-991 fatality20th SOSMayaguez Rescue / Vietnam War15 May 1975: Mayaguez Rescue Attempt (Jolly Green 11)Operation JUST CAUSE:
- Took ground fire over Panama City
Crashed while attempting to execute go-around from a dust-out approach (Pope AFB)
- SSgt Kurt Upton (Tail Gunner)
17 Jul 2003: Arrival at AMARC
68-10367HH-53CMH-53JRetired / AMARC18-May-07551st SOSDESERT STORM / JUST CAUSEN/AN/AOperation DESERT STORM:
- 17 Jan 1991: First aircraft to fly into Iraq, starting the war. Led first mission of operation (four ship of PAVE LOWs) guiding AH-64 Apache
Operation JUST CAUSE:
- First MH-53J PAVE LOW in combat (DCC SSgt Marty Moore)
N/A
68-10369HH-53CMH-53MDisplay / Hill AFB Musuem16-Sep-0820th SOSDESERT STORMN/AN/AOperation DESERT STORM:
- 17 Jan 1991: First mission of operation
Last Flight: F.E. Rick Simmon (awarded two Silver Stars during Vietnam)
11 Sep 2001: Assisted in FEMA efforts following terrorist attacks.
68-10923*CH-53CMH-53JRetired / AMARC18-May-07N/A551st SOSN/AN/AOne of two CH-53Cs modified to MH-53H configuration to replace early losses of Vietnam War (1647 and 1650)N/AN/A
68-10924CH-53CMH-53MRetired / AMARC27-Sep-08N/A20th SOSN/AN/ASuffered severe blade to fuselage contact (Class B) on remote mountain top above Rhine River during a slope landing (CH-53C, 601st Tactical Air Support Squadron)N/AKnown as the Berserker due to bizarre unexplained electrical and other various component failures
68-10928CH-53CMH-53MDisplay / Hurlburt Air Park03-Dec-07N/A20th SOSENDURING FREEDOM15 May 1975: Mayaguez Rescue Attempt (Knife 22). Went down in what turned out to be Thailand during the Koh Tang mission. At first they thought it was in Cambodia and started to strip and destroy it. Once they found out they were in Thailand they began recovery efforts. Information is that when they attempted to pull it out of the mud with a Cat they jerked the nose gear and the cockpit floor out of it. After a lot of work it was repaired and was seen in Germany.June 1984: Supported President Reagan's party for the ceremonies recognizing the 40th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. Flew with mixed crew consisting of AF pilot in left seat, Marine One pilot right seat, AF FE in jump seat and Marine crew chief manning the cabin. June 6th, acft 0930 carried the white house staff and acft 0928 carried the white house press corp in formation behind Marine One from the embassy in London to the American cemetery in France, plus landings for ceremonies at Point du Hoc, Utah and Omaha beaches. Many heads of state from all the allied powers. Required to be in place, shut-down until President was aboard Marine one and airborne, then quickly load passengers, crank engines and take-off to pass the President and be on the ground shutdown and unloaded by the time he was on final descent to each LZ.
During this week, also supported Reagan's attendance at the European Economic summit through Ireland, Scotland, France, and England.
- When assigned to the 601st TASS in Sembach, known as Head Hunter (artwork on avionics door). Art used by Revell model for decals on its CH-53C models. The crew chief SSgt. Paul Richardson had the artwork accomplished by the commissary butcher at the Sembach, Germany commissary. Warner Robins or Wright Patterson ALC may have the avionics door on display somewhere.
- Well known in European air show circuit (601 TASS). Door was actually passed from aircraft to aircraft to the CH-53 airshow participants. On one occasion the CH-53C had to leave an airshow early, hovered out of the display spot and consequently blew over a lighter aircraft onto its prop. The newspaper read The Monster Did It in reference to the Head Hunter nose art.
June 1981: Flew in Paris & Versailles, France in support of President Reagan at the G7 Summit. Dave Bauer flew this a/c to the (first ever?) approach & landing on the grounds of the Palace at Versailles. Acft also accompanied Mrs. Reagan to American Cemetery at Omaha Beach for Memorial Service on June 6, 1981.
N/AOperation ENDURING FREEDOM:
- First mission into city of Kandahar
68-10930CH-53CMH-53MOperations Loss13-Feb-03No fatalities20th SOSDESERT STORM / ENDURING FREEDOM / IRAQI FREEDOMJune 1984: Supported President Reagan's party for the ceremonies recognizing the 40th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. Carried the White House staff and Acft 0928 carried the white house press corp in formation behind Marine One from the embassy in London to the American cemetery in France, plus landings for ceremonies at Point du Hoc, Utah and Omaha beaches. Many heads of state from all the allied powers. Required to be in place, shut-down until President was aboard Marine one and airborne, then quickly load passengers, crank engines and take-off to pass the President and be on the ground shutdown and unloaded by the time he was on final descent to each LZ During this week, also supported Reagan's attendance at the European Economic summit through Ireland, Scotland, France, and England.Operation DESERT STORM:
- 21 Jan 91: Slate 46 pickup (1st successful combat rescue since Vietnam)
15 Aug 2005: Delivered to AMARC
Operation IRAQI FREEDOM:
- Crashed at Udairi Range during a dust-out and made a hard landing not far from Ali Al Salem airbase in Kuwait.
- During the landing the nose landing gear was pushed through the fuselage, damaging the controls, after which the tail rotor blades contacted the ground. Slight injuries to personnel.
Operation ENDURING FREEDOM:
- Landed on burm in dust out and broke nose gear, lost utility hydraulics, HAR with probe in (probe damaged), tried to land on mattresses but ended up setting the nose down on a jack.
68-10932CH-53CMH-53MLogistics Loss06-Jun-95No fatalities31st SOS, Osan AB, S. KoreaMayaguez Rescue / Vietnam War15 May 1975: Mayaguez Rescue Attempt (Knife 32)Catastrophic engine failure on short final, ruptured fuel and oil lines caught fire, aircraft burned in LZ.
- Pilot Capt John Owens / Co-pilot Capt Carl Halcomb
- FE in seat SSgt Jeff Franco / FE in door SrA Erik Fricsons
- Left Gunner - SSgt Rick Shore / Tail Gunner - SSgt Johnny Herman
68-8284HH-53CMH-53MDisplay / Cosford, England (RAF Museum)27-Sep-0820th SOSIRAQI FREEDOMN/AOct 1980: 3 week TDY operating from the Royal Aircraft Establishment airfield at West Freugh, SW Scotland. Task was to sling load RF-4C wreckage from Cairnsmore of Fleet and F-111E wreckage from Craignaw. Artifacts and photographs from the task are displayed at the Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum, Dumfries, South West Scotland. Pilot was Capt Frank A Gray.N/A2005: First operational test of AHHS (Automatic Hover Hold System)
11 Sep 2001: Assisted in FEMA efforts following terrorist attacks
68-8286HH-53CMH-53MCombat Loss02-Mar-12No fatalities20th SOSENDURING FREEDOM / IVORY COASTOperation IVORY COAST:
- 21 Nov 1970 - Son Tay Raid (Apple 3)
Took 37mm round in cargo hook in SEA
1988?: Crashed in Virginia during a brown out landing1998?: Second of two prototype IDAS/MATT modified MH-53J's (pre-cursor to MH-53M)Operation ENDURING FREEDOM:
- Hard landing in Afghanistan
11 Sep 2001: Assisted in FEMA efforts following terrorist attacks.
69-5784HH-53CMH-53MRetired / AMARC14-Sep-0721st SOSN/AN/AN/AMar 2001: Landed on three fence posts buried in snow (white out started at 110ft) punching holes in bottom of acft.
2 Aug 2000: Tail struck the ground in LZ Zulu in Thetford Forrest. (TGB ripped away and hit a main rotor blade.
- Slung out by British CH-47 four weeks later.
69-5785HH-53CMH-53MDisplay / Maxwell AFB Museum27-Sep-0820th SOSEAGLE PULL / Mayaguez RescueOperation EAGLE PULL:
- U.S. Embassy in Phnom Phen - Carried out the very last load of Marine Guard (Chalk 2 of two ARRS HH-53 Super Jolly Green Giants) and thus the absolute last to leave the Embassy and Cambodia. The RVN was attacking outside the embassy and as the helo lifted away, had zeroed mortars virtually onto the spots just departed from (Thanks to Mike Brown, PJ)
15 May 1975: Mayaguez Rescue Attempt (Jolly Green 42)
- Bob Dube (Co-Pilot)
Oct 1980: 3 week TDY operating from the Royal Aircraft Establishment airfield at West Freugh, SW Scotland. Task was to sling load RF-4C wreckage from Cairnsmore of Fleet and F-111E wreckage from Craignaw. Artifacts and photographs from the task are displayed at the Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum, Dumfries, South West Scotland. Pilot was Capt Frank A Gray.N/AN/A
69-5789HH-53CMH-53JRetired / AMARC21-May-07551st SOSN/AN/AN/ARight MLG brakes stuck on after landing at the bone yard, had to taxi on 3 wheels (credit to Maj Cherrington) leaving skid marks every time it bounced. She just didn't want to go.
69-5790*HH-53CMH-53MRetired / AMARC27-Sep-0820th SOSN/AN/AN/AN/A
69-5791*HH-53CMH-53MOperations Loss02-Nov-01No fatalities20th SOSENDURING FREEDOM13 Mar 1979: First production HH-53H PAVE LOW. Rolled out at the Naval Air Rework Facility, Pensacola NAS, FLN/AN/AOperation ENDURING FREEDOM:
- Loss of lift while turning from high terrain (heavy gross weight) in snowstorm with no radar in Northern Afghanistan.
69-5793HH-53CMH-53MOperations Loss2005No fatalities20th SOSIRAQI FREEDOM / EAGLE PULL / Mayguez Rescue / Vietnam War15 May 1975: Mayaguez Rescue Attempt (Jolly Green 12)
Operation EAGLE PULL:
- Evac of Phom Phen
N/AN/A28 Aug 2006: Delivered to AMARC
Operation IRAQI FREEDOM:
- Summer 2005: Mishap led to its demise (AMARC boneyard 28 Aug 06)
- May 2005: Took 5 bullet holes (four 7.62 and one 12.7mm). Retaliated with by the tail .50 cal (Barry T)
69-5794HH-53CMH-53MLogistics Loss07-Sep-07No fatalities20th SOSFREQUENT WIND / Vietnam War15 May 1975: Mayaguez Rescue Attempt (Jolly Green 13). 35 hits
Operation FREQUENT WIND:
- 29-30 Apr 1975
N/AN/ACrashed during a night training mission at Hurlburt Field. IGB bolts failed.
11 Sep 2001: Assisted in FEMA efforts following terrorist attacks.
69-5795HH-53CMH-53MRetired / AMARC14-Sep-0721st SOSMayaguez Rescue / Vietnam War15 May 1975: Mayaguez Rescue Attempt (Jolly Green 41). Silver Star awarded
- Inserted 22
- Suffered major battle damage (15 holes in fuselage)
- TSgt Little / SSgt Donovan (Flight Mechs)
Sep 1975: Last H-53 #2 of 2 ship from NKP
Apr 1972: Two saves (Spectre crew)(Jolly Green 53)
Mar 1972: Two saves (F-4 crew)(Jolly Green 53)
20 May 1972: Pickup of Bowleg 02A, F-4 pilot John Markle, 35 miles west of Hanoi, silver star
Date unknown: Another pickup of nine army wounded from a Huey crash near Dalat SVN
1982: Used in the movie Firefox with Clint Eastwood (Thanks to F. Matthews for the update)
- Jim Teeple (pilot)
N/AN/A
69-5796HH-53CMH-53MRetired / AMARC14-Sep-0721st SOSIRAQI FREEDOMN/AJan 1989: Cargo ship Yarrawonga rescue off coast of Ireland (35 Saves)
- One of two from RAF Woodbridge, England. 10 hours, 2 A/Rs, 1150 miles start to finish during 70 knot hurricane winds and 30-40 ft swells.
8 Aug 1980: Sling loaded a 2.5 Ton granite memorial onto Cairnsmore of Fleet mountain, South West Scotland. Memorial was to commemorate the 25 lives lost in eight aircraft crashes since World War II. Recovered World War II Heinkel He-111 Bomber engine on the return trip. Engine is now displayed with extensive 67th ARRS artifacts in the Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum, Dumfries, South West Scotland. Pilot was Capt Frank A Gray.
- The Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum is located in and around the unique three storey Control Tower on the former World War II airfield at Dumfries, South West Scotland. The new 67th Air Rescue Squadron and 67th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron display was officially opened on Friday 27th July as part of their 30th Anniversary celebratory weekend. The ceremony was attended by an MH-53M from the 21st SOS and a Royal Navy SAR Sea King from HMS Gannet, Prestwick. The unveiling was conducted by Lt Col Brent P Markowski, current Commander of the 67th SOS and Major Frank A Gray USAF (Retired), 67th ARRS. Frank flew the HH-53C that recovered aircraft wreckage following two fatal fast jet crashes in South West Scotland in 1979 (an Upper Heyford F-111E and an Alconbury RF-4C) Frank returned to Scotland on the 8th August 1980 to airlift a 2.5 Ton memorial stone, on behalf of the Museum, onto the Cairnsmore of Fleet mountain where the RF-4C had crashed. This notorious mountain had claimed eight aircraft and twenty five lives since 1940. The HH-53C that he flew that day was 69-5796, the very same aircraft that attended the dedication ceremony almost exactly 27 years later as an MH-53M!

The Cairnsmore of Fleet memorial was dedicated and lifted into place on the 40th Anniversary of the first crash. On the 8th August 1940, a Luftwaffe Heinkel He-111 was on a mission to drop mines in Belfast docks when it crashed on Cairnsmore with the loss of the four man crew. Following the placing of the memorial stone the HH-53C returned with an object slung in the net the 67th ARRS and the museum members onboard the helicopter had managed to recover one of the Heinkel bomber engines. It now has pride of place amongst the extensive aero engine display at the Aviation Museum.
N/AOperation IRAQI FREEDOM:
- First PAVE LOW to return fire (Left returned fire with mini in Baghdad, then two & lead shot back during two other engagements that followed.)
Nov 2003: Performed first ever night landing to Buckingham Palace in support of President Bush's visit to England
21-22 May 2002: Persuader rescue (Cheney Award for Chooch)
69-5797HH-53CMH-53MCombat Loss12-Apr-04No fatalities20th SOSIRAQI FREEDOMN/AN/AN/AOperation IRAQI FREEDOM:
- 12 Apr 04: RPG through cockpit, took out instrument panel and throttles, crew landed safely. Helicopter destroyed by friendly forces to prevent capture
70-1625CH-53CMH-53MOperations Loss23-Nov-035 fatalities21st SOSDESERT STORM / ENDURING FREEDOM / IRAQI FREEDOM1973-1975?: Laos - Suffered blade to fuselage contact during an infil of team (In enemy possession until recovered by force over a 24 hour period)16 March 1984: Returning from a C-130 crash recovery mission at Zarragoza AB, Spain enroute to Sembach AB, Germany. One time flight authorization due to bad SOAP on #1 engine and multiple chip lights. IFR at 6,000 feet in clouds with light to moderate icing conditions over southern France, struck by lightning. One tail rotor blade 75% destroyed and another damaged along with some other damage to main rotor blades and fuselage from debris. Lost one and two servos and number two generator (all reset). Severe vibrations caused instruments to pop out of the instrument panel and the HF, VHF, and RAW gear all ripped off there mounts and ended up on the cabin floor. Broke out of clouds at ~1000AGL and spotted clearing in forest cleared only 1 week prior. Landed on a 10 degree slope among numerous tree stumps and debris. Performed emergency shut-down and were picked up by French rescue crew. Aircraft was severely damaged from vibrations, even the standby compass was 30 degrees off. MX crews flown out from Sembach the same day, patched it together pulling an all nighter and acft was flown back to Sembach a couple of days later for extensive maintenance. 4 crew and 5 passengers onboard (engine specialist, Crew chief, and three enlisted on incentive flight), no reportable injuries. Crew was awarded the AF Well Done Award and AF Recognition Ribbon (Air Medals citations were submitted for entire crew, but denied due to an interpretation that the crew needed to be under fire to qualify).
Crew: Pilot - 1st Lt. Robert Hawvermale, Co-Pilot - 1st Lt. James Long; FEs - SSGT Dean Larsen & SSGT Glenn Davis.
Operation ALLIED FORCE:
- 2 May 99: Chalk 2 during HAMMER 34 rescue mission in Serbia during
Operation ENDURING FREEDOM:
- 23 Nov 2003: Beatle 12 Compressor stall shortly after takeoff from FOB, aux tanks failed to jettison, hit the ground (landed) with forward roll, hit a berm, rolled over, caught fire.
- Maj Steve Plumhoff - Pilot (A/C) (Left seat)
- SSgt Tom Walkup - F.E. in seat
- MSgt(s) Bill Kerwood - F.E. in door
- TSgt Howie Walters - Left gunner
- Sgt. Major Phillip R. Albert (10th Mtn Div)
70-1626CH-53CMH-53MDisplay / Warner-Robins AFB11-Aug-08N/A20th SOSDESERT STORM / IRAQI FREEDOM / Mayaguez Rescue / Vietnam War15 May 1975: Mayaguez Rescue Attempt (Knife 52)N/AOperation DESERT STORM:
- Corvette 03 rescue attempt in Northern Iraq (21st SOS)
Feb-Mar 2007: Used for PhLASH (Photographic Landing Augmentation System for Helicopters) test
Operation IRAQI FREEDOM:
- Damaged by shrapnel from 107mm mortar round during runup, , no injuries, repaired and returned to service next day
70-1629*CH-53CMH-53MRetired / AMARC08-Aug-08N/A20th SOSN/AOne of two CH-53Cs modified to HH/MH-53H configuration to replace early losses (73-1647 and 73-1650)N/AN/A
70-1630CH-53CMH-53MRetired / AMARC14-Sep-07N/A21st SOSDESERT STORMN/AN/AOperation DESERT STORM:
- 17 Jan 91: Flew 1st mission in war leading AH-64 Apaches (Task Force Normandy), one of four ship
N/A
70-1631CH-53CMH-53MRetired / AMARC27-Sep-08N/A20th SOSN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
73-1647*HH-53CMH-53MOperations Loss17-Oct-84No survivors20th SOSN/AExercise COPE THUNDER:
- Impacted ridge line during night TF mission in heavy rain squall at Crow Valley near Clark AB, Philippines
Major James S. Prowell (P)
Captain Michael W. Skeen (P)
Technical Sgt Thomas M. (Rocky) Ortiz, Jr (FE)
Staff Sgt Robert G. Barker (FE)
Technical Sgt Wayne A. Johnson (AG)
Staff Sgt Max B. (Paco) Lincks, Jr. (AG)
N/AN/A
73-1648*HH-53CMH-53MRetired / AMARC18-Aug-0820th SOSN/ASep 1987: Crashed during a CAPEX, 1 Ranger killed
First full SLEP (Service Life Extension Program) MH-53J
N/AN/A
73-1649*HH-53CMH-53MRetired / AMARC27-Sep-0820th SOSJonestown RecoveryNov 1978: Removed bodies of 903 Americans at Jonestown, Guyana (55th ARRS)N/AN/ANov 2003: Preformed first ever night landing to Buckingham Palace in support of President Bush's visit to England
73-1650*HH-53CMH-53MLogistics Loss14-Nov-84No fatalities20th SOSN/ATail rotor and tail rotor gearbox separated from aircraft in flight, autorotated to field near Pope AFB, NC
From Dave Harris:
I still have my copy of the entire accident investigation, with all the black and white pictures, aircrew testimonies, just everything. Basically the tail rotor gearbox mounting bolts broke while I was joining on a tanker with Mike Damron in chaulk 2 behind us, and some TF160 Chinooks. We were a few miles south of Fort Bragg, near the town of Maxton, setting up to fly over the ATF reviewing stands in an air-refueling formation, on the first practice day of a JSOC Capex week. The tailrotor gearbox came off the bird and took part of the tail with it at 800 feet AGL, Jack Kelly was in the left seat with me in the right. We performed the boldface, the cleanup, and autorotated down in a right hand slip to a farmer's freshly plowed field. Just had the new 650 "explosion proof" aux tanks installed on that bird. I compressed a vertabrae and busted up my face, but got back to flying (took 2 years). Jack Kelly shattered his vertabrae and ultimately ended up with a full medical retirement. I could go on, but the bottom line was that Bo Johnson was the 20 SOS/DO at the time, he was riding in the back, we had a team of Rangers on board, and we all walked away. Of all six crewmembers I was the only one that ever flew again. The two FEs and two Gunners had some busted ribs and busted teeth, and they elected not to fly again. Bo busted some ribs, but flew again. Evidently there'd been a Marine 53 crash approx nine months before that and Sigorsky told everyone to fly lighter, and do the power checks differently to put less stress on the tail, and to inspect the mounting bolts more frequently until they built a tail tranny with better, stronger mounts. We never got the word in the 20th, and of course we flew heavier and longer than the Navy or the Corps. It was 14 Nov 1984 I believe. Hope that helps some.
Oh, a couple of things I left out - we forgot to pickle the new 650 crashworthy tanks, and they think that may have actually helped us not pitch over or roll in the flare. The FE in the jumpseat was Roger Sather, in the door was Dave Rech, with Bob Hall in the left window, and Jerry Price on the ramp. Dave Rech did fly again. Maybe Bob Hall did too, but not for much longer. Roger never flew again, didn't want to, and I think it was the same for Jerry. There was a pave crash in Nevada - Walt Heidmous could tell you about - we lost Dick Brims in that one, and a pave crash in the Phillipines, lost everybody in that one - Steve Prowell, Mike Skeen, Rocky Ortiz, Ron Dorazio, Wayne Johnson, and another gent, his name escapes me right now - Tommy Hull or Mark Schibler could tell you about that one.
N/AN/A
73-1651*HH-53CMH-53MOperations Loss21-May-861 fatality20th SOSJonestown RecoveryNov 1978: Removed 903 American bodies at Jonestown, Guyana (55th ARRS)Exercise ELATED CYCLONE:
- May 1986: Impacted ridgeline at night during formation approach near Nellis AFB, NV (Cedar Pass)
- Maj Richard C Brims (Awarded the Air Force Cross during the S.S. Mayaguez Incident while assigned to the 21st SOS).
N/AN/A
73-1652*HH-53CMH-53MDisplay / USAF Armament Museum05-Sep-0820th SOSJonestown RecoveryNov 1978: Removed 903 American bodies at Jonestown, Guyana (55 ARRS)Jan 1980: First Operational PAVE LOW Mission - Rescue of pilot (priest) that crashed on mesa top in Albuquerue, NM area.
- Steve Connelly (AC) | Barry Walls (deseased) (CP)
- John Adrian (FE) | Rick Simmon (FE)
- Mike Brown (PJ) | Pat Sinon (PJ)
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